Want to know the best way to save money? Saving is one of those chores – you know you need to start, but there are always nice things to spend your extra cash on each month. So get sneaky with yourself and boost your willpower. We’ve compiled the best money saving tips and detailed how you can expertly save cash behind your own back.
Before you get really sneaky, set up the savings account that is going to hold all your loot. Ideally you want something with the highest rate of interest you can get, but also an account which offers you instant access, meaning you can pay in and take money out as and when you want to.
One of the best around right now is the Post Office Online Saver which pays a rate of 1.50%. When looking for the best savings accounts it may also be worth speaking to your bank about what they can offer.
You can also use our calculator to see where your money is best invested.
This is where you have to get cunning. Come up with ways of kidding yourself into saving money without even realising it. Everyone’s different, so not all of these ways to save money will work for everyone – but we’ll guarantee that a few of these top tricks will get you saving.
1. Pay yourself first
Set up a direct debit so that a day after your wages are paid into your current account, you move a percentage of them (5 percent, 10 percent or as much as you can afford) straight into your savings account. That way it’s like you never had the money in the first place, so now it’s tucked away earning interest in your savings account and you won’t miss it.
2. Get cash back
If you don’t do either of these things you should start straight away – it’s free money! The best cashback credit card out there at the moment is the American Express Platinum Cashback credit card (bear in mind you need a decent credit rating to get this card).
When it comes to the best cashback sites, try ECashback for instant rewards of up to 35%.
3. Spend one payrise behind
If you are fortunate enough to get a payrise, you might be tempted to increase your spending – but don’t! Instead, try and stick to the smaller budget you’re used to, and put the extra pay into your savings account. In fact, change your monthly standing order so that all of the money diverts into your savings before you even think about the raise.
4. Lighten the load
Got a purse full of coppers? At the end of every week empty all your small change out of your purse and put it in a piggy bank – it saves having to carry it around with you. Plus, because it’s only small change you won’t miss it, but you’ll be amazed at how much you can accumulate in a month.
Save the money you find when you put your trousers or jackets in the wash too. And check down the back of the sofa every so often, there’s probably more money down there than you think!
Every couple of months make sure you take all the money and pay it into your savings account so it starts earning you interest.
5. Exercise and save
If you walk, cycle or get a free lift for a journey that you would usually pay for, put the fare, or equivalent petrol money into your savings. So if you would have paid £2.50 for a tube journey, put that money in your piggy bank. Cycle to and from work for a month and you could save yourself over £100, and get fit!
6. Curb your urge to splurge
Instead of forking out £3.50 for that coffee you usually have on the way to work, take your own in a flask, and put the money into your savings account. The same goes for your lunch – if you make it every day for work instead of buying it you can save yourself over £1,000 a year! And chances are, what you make yourself will be a lot healthier than the lunch you buy (never underestimate the amount of salt, fat and preservatives in packaged sandwiches).
If your willpower is really strong you can try this out with other things too. Seen a pair of shoes you love but don’t really need? Put the money you would have spent on them in your savings account, and let it make you more money instead.
Of course a little of what you fancy does you good, but really thinking about whether you need something or not before you buy it is a great habit to get into.
7. Set up a bad habits box
It could be just a swear box or it could be a chocolate, fast food or crisps box. Whatever your secret, or not so secret, naughtiness is, fine yourself something when you indulge.
Come up with an amount that suits you – 10p or £1 – and every time you eat the offending item, be it a McDonald’s or a take-out curry, stick it in the bad habits box. Putting the money in the box each time you succumb will help you kick the habit so you can save money and help yourself lose weight at the same time.
8. Start your own in-house Laundromat
Put a jar next to your washing machine (and dryer if you have one) and ‘charge’ yourself every time you use it. Again, it’s up to you how much you charge but after a few months you should have a decent amount to pour into your savings account.
Not only will you be saving money, you’ll be saving the environment too – having to pay to do the washing will make you think more economically about your loads.
9. Be the agent for your friends
Be the one to book group holidays – you could get a discount or even a whole holiday for free for yourself.
If you go out for a meal with your friends, say once a month, be the one to book it. If you use a site like OpenTable you’ll get better deals at fantastic restaurants anyway, and you earn points every time you book. So you’ll be getting great deals for your friends and earning enough points to enjoy your own free meal in no time! Put the money you would have spent on dinner straight into that savings account.
Plus if you have a car, join up to car-sharing websites like Liftshare or National Carshare or just arrange to give friends lifts. Once again, any money they give you for petrol should go straight into your savings pot.
10. Find money you didn’t know you had
Ferret out all that money you’ve forgotten about. Research from MoneyExpert shows that Britons have over £4 billion worth of unredeemed loyalty card points, gift vouchers, credit notes, coupons and air miles – just lying around.
So hunt down all that ‘free money’, and the next time you book a flight, do a food shop or splash out on some new clothes, try to avoid spending any cash. And the money you’ve saved? Straight into the savings account of course!
The tax man may be scary, but it could be worth your while getting in touch. According to Unbiased.co.uk, failure to claim back tax overpayments has left Britons £322 million out of pocket. Find out how to get your money back here.
And finally, go to Mylostaccount to see if you have any old savings accounts lying dormant that you could raid to add to your stash.